By: Pat Walsh, Chief Business Development Officer and Vice president, Supply Chain

Supply Chain TechnologyMarketplace, technology and consumer trends don’t happen in a vacuum. These shifts intersect all areas of food retail from the supply chain to the store shelf. As disruption moves from happening in stages to a continuum, it will take the work of a dedicated community made of food retailers and supply chain partners to find solutions to inefficiencies in today’s supply chain.

The grocery supply chain struggles with numerous inefficiencies including: high inventory levels; lack of effective and timely communications; inaccurate promotional plans and forecasts; and a high level of out-of-stocks at retail. As advances in technology continue to disrupt the norm, more industry leaders look toward emerging technologies as solution providers for the diverse challenges existing in trading partners’ business practices.

Here are a few examples of emerging technologies food retailers and suppliers are looking toward:

  • Artificial intelligence Supply chain partners are using a product replenishment tool to enhance sales, create more on-shelf availability and reduce labor requirements.
  • Software-as-a-Service (Saas). Food retailers have an opportunity to leverage cloud computing to integrate a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model with their transportation management system.
  • Blockchain. Many industry experts have their eyes on blockchain as an emerging, perhaps game-changing, technology that in the very near future could track a product’s path from the initial producer to the retail shelf in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks. Supply chain professionals understand that data accuracy and consistency will be important if every component of the chain is to work together. There must be standards for consistency and strategies for sharing data among trading partners.

The upcoming 2018 TPA Supply Chain Conference, in Orlando, Florida from April 15-17, 2018, is an excellent venue to examine the opportunities with your trading partners. Find more at